The Dish: Chef Priya Krishna reveals her signature recipes

Priya Krishna was born and raised in Dallas, and loved the foods her mother prepared: traditional Indian recipes, but with a modern American twist. 

After becoming a food writer for major magazines and newspapers, Krishna decided to share these unique creations in her new cookbook, "Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family." The book has been named one of the best cookbooks of spring by The New York Times, Food and Wine, and other publications.

Here are some of Krishna's signature recipes:

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Orange peel fish Mackenzie Kelley

Orange peel fish (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

4 sea bass fillets (1/2 lb each)

1 tbsp olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 small serrano chile, finely chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

peel of 1 small clementine, finely chopped

lime wedges, for serving

Methods:

  1. Place the fish on a paper towel and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chile, and salt into a paste. Using half the paste, coat one side of each fillet.
  3. Spread a 2-foot sheet of foil out on the counter. Place all the fish fillets on one half of the foil, paste-side down. Coat the other side of the fillets with the remaining paste, making sure to evenly cover the entire surface area of the fish. Evenly sprinkle the clementine peel over the top of each fillet. Fold the other half of the foil over the fish, then fold each side over three times to seal the foil into a pouch. Refrigerate the pouch for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  5. Transfer the pouch to a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets, then turn off the oven and let the fish sit in the oven for 1 minute more — the pouch should have puffed up at this point.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the pouch cool down for a minute, then unseal the sides of the pouch (be careful of the hot steam inside!). Serve each fillet with a lime wedge for spritzing, and spoon the juices from the foil pouch over the top.
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Tomato rice with crispy cheddar Mackenzie Kelley

Tomato rice with crispy cheddar (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 small Indian green chile or serrano chile, finely chopped

10 medium Roma tomatoes, diced into ½-inch pieces

1 tsp kosher salt

3 cups cooked basmati rice (from about 1 cup dry rice)

1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

Methods:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the highest position and preheat the oven to 500˚F.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and chile, spread them out in an even layer in the pan, and cook until the onion becomes translucent and starts to lightly char, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes, using the back of a spoon to lightly crush them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down into a chunky sauce, 5 to 6 minutes, then add the salt.
  4. Put the cooked rice in an 8-inch square (or similar size) baking dish, then fold in the tomato sauce. (You can also do the folding in a separate bowl and then transfer the rice to the baking dish, if you doubt your ability to not spill rice and sauce everywhere.) Evenly distribute the grated cheese over the top.
  5. Switch the oven to broil and place the baking dish on the top oven rack. Broil for about 3 minutes, until the top bubbles and turns golden brown. Serve immediately.
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Red pepper, potato, and peanut sabzi Mackenzie Kelley

Red pepper, potato, and peanut sabzi (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 small yellow onion, diced into ½-inch pieces

1 large russet potato, diced into ½-inch cubes

2 medium red bell peppers, diced into ¾-inch pieces

1 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed

¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed

1 tbsp fresh lime juice (from about half a lime), plus more if needed

Methods:

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the cumin seeds and cook until they turn a medium shade of brown, about 1 minute max. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the fennel seeds. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in the potato, then spread the mixture into an even layer in the pan. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the potato is tender and not mushy (a little charring on the bottom is A-OK). Stir in the bell peppers and salt. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the peppers are slightly softened. Use a serving spoon or spatula to scrape up the delicious charred bits from the bottom of the pan and stir them into the dish.
  3. Stir in the crushed peanuts and lime juice. Taste and adjust the lime juice and salt, if needed, before serving.
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Green chile and cherry tomato pickle Mackenzie Kelley

Green chile and cherry tomato pickle (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp nigella seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp black mustard seeds

¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

¼ tsp asafetida (optional, but really great)

4 long Indian green chiles or serrano chiles, halved lengthwise (no need to remove the stems)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¾ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp fresh lime juice (from about half a lime)

Methods:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, toss in the fennel seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds and cook until the spices look slightly browned and start to sputter (watch the cumin—that's the best indicator), about 1 minute max. Stir in the asafetida (if using) and then add the chiles. Cook for 2 minutes, until the chiles brown and crisp on the sides.
  2. Turn off the heat, mix in the tomatoes, and immediately transfer to a serving bowl so that the tomatoes stop cooking. Gently mix in the salt and lime juice. Serve warm or at room temperature. This will keep, covered, in the fridge for a few days, but it's best polished off day-of.
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Eggless pineapple cake  Mackenzie Kelley

Eggless pineapple cake (Serves 12-15)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing

½ cup full-fat plain yogurt

½ cup pureed silken tofu (4 ounces)

¼ cup whole milk

2½ cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1¼ cups granulated sugar

2½ cups (two 14-ounce cans) canned diced pineapple, juices drained and reserved

For the frosting:

2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

Methods:

  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, tofu, and milk with a wooden spoon until the mixture looks homogeneous. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. 
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer running on high, add the yogurt mixture in three additions, beating for about 45 seconds after each. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in ½ cup of the pineapple chunks with a spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly and making sure the pineapple is uniformly distributed. Bake for 21 to 23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool while you make the frosting.
  6. For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the reserved pineapple juice. Mix on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  7. Once the cake has cooled completely, remove it from the pan and slice it in half lengthwise. Dust off the excess crumbs and brush the edges and crumb sides of the cake halves with the reserved pineapple juice (this will help the cake stay moist).
  8. Assembly: Place one cake layer on a serving platter with the crumb side facing up. Spread the remaining 2 cups pineapple chunks (reserving a couple spoonfuls for garnish) on top of the cake, then spread half the frosting over the pineapple. Set the second cake layer on top, this time with the crumb side facing down. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting and scatter on the reserved pineapple chunks. This cake keeps, refrigerated, for up to 3 to 4 days, after which it will sadly get very dry. Enjoy it quickly!
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Shikanji Mackenzie Kelley

Shikanji (Indian Gatorade, Serves 4)

Ingredients:

¾ cup fresh lime juice (from about 6 limes)

¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup ice cubes, plus more for serving

Methods:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender with 2 cups water. Blend until everything is fully incorporated and a thin layer of foam forms on the top.
  2. Fill four glasses with ice and pour the shikanji over the top, stirring with a spoon just before serving so the pepper is integrated throughout. Garnish each glass with one more tiny pinch of pepper